Corn futures are 2 to 3 cents higher this morning.
- Corn futures initially pared overnight gains as the U.S. dollar index moved into positive territory, but the market has since improved. Traders are focused on readying positions ahead of what will be an extended holiday break for many.
- The market is benefiting from news South Korea purchased 118,000 MT of U.S. corn overnight. Traders will get another update on demand in Friday's Export Sales Report.
- Gulf corn basis firmed 2 cents for January delivery this morning, while basis held steady for other delivery months.
- Ethanol production the week ended Nov. 22 rose 23,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 927,000 bpd; ethanol stocks fell 61,000 barrels to 15.02 million barrels. This adds to the positive tone.
Soybean futures have seen mixed action this morning amid thin holiday trade. January through July futures are fractionally to 6 cents higher with far-deferred months posting slight losses.
- Nearby contracts are benefiting from a reminder of strong demand for U.S. soybeans. This is encouraging some light bull spreading.
- USDA has announced a daily soybean sale every day this week totaling 715,000 MT, though this was partially offset by 300,000 MT in soybean sales cancellations by China.
- Today USDA announced daily soybean sales of 235,000 MT to unknown destinations. Of that total, 180,000 MT is for 2013-14 delivery and 55,000 MT is for 2014-15.
- The high-range close in soybean futures yesterday is also giving bulls an edge as they ready positions ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Wheat futures have rallied to post gains of 8 to 10 cents in the SRW market, with HRW wheat 6 to 7 cents higher and HRS wheat 1 to 6 cents higher.
- Wheat futures have taken an atypical leadership role this morning and are leading corn and soybeans higher.
- Freezing temps in the Southern Plains along with some snow this week raise concerns about the winter wheat crop.
- Traders are also encouraged by the wheat market's ability to rebound after facing pressure yesterday.
- Traders were hopeful Egypt would buy U.S. wheat in its tender, but instead the country purchased 60,000 MT of French wheat.
- Traders are ignoring news Ukraine upped its grain export forecast by 2.5 MMT to 32.5 MMT for 2013-14.
Live cattle futures are off to a choppy start, with nearby contracts favoring the upside. Feeder cattle futures are slightly to moderately higher.
- Traders are evening positions ahead of cash cattle trade and what will be an extended holiday break from the markets for some.
- Initial asking prices are at $132, which is up $1 from bulk of last week's trade and in line with the front-month contract.
- While showlist estimates are up this week, gains in the boxed beef market have improved packer profit margins, though they remain in the red.
- Most expect cash cattle trade to take place today as neither feedlots nor packers will want to carry negotiations into Friday.
- Boxed beef prices firmed 10 cents for Choice cuts and 80 cents for Select yesterday and movement improved to 181 loads.
- Feeder cattle futures are enjoying followthrough buys after yesterday's strong close.
Lean hog futures are enjoying slight gains in most contracts.
- Cash hog bids are mostly steady again today, with scattered higher and lower price offerings. While supplies are plentiful, packers' needs are also high as they are preparing for a large Saturday kill to make up for downtime Thursday. Packers have the added incentive of strong profit margins.
- Projections are for 340,000 head to be slaughtered Saturday. This week's total kill is expected to be around 2.066 million head, which would be 13.9% below year-ago.
- Traders are also being encouraged by a surge in pork movement yesterday on just a penny slide in the pork cutout value.